Archive for September, 2011

SearchCap: The Day In Search, September 30, 2011

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

  • Confirmed: Google Panda 2.4 Update Arrived This Week

    Google has confirmed that the latest iteration of its Panda algorithm update is live. Based on our tracking of the algo changes, this is update 2.4. Google declined to share any specifics about what types of sites, pages or content this update targeted, instead only sharing the company’s default statement: We’re continuing to iterate on […

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A Roundup of Valuable Facebook Tools


Not long ago we had a post featuring some valuable Twitter tools, and we received requests to do the same kind of post for Facebook. In the interest of giving our readers what they want, and the community content that is useful, this post was born. Today we are presenting a list of tools to enhance your Facebook experience.

Even with Google+ on the virtual horizon, Facebook remains a major social media platform that many users never foresee leaving…

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Create An Animated Bar Graph With HTML, CSS And jQuery



People in boardrooms across the world love a good graph. They go nuts for PowerPoint, bullet points and phrases like “run it up the flagpole,” “blue-sky thinking” and “low-hanging fruit,” and everything is always “moving forward.” Backwards is not an option for people who facilitate paradigm shifts in the zeitgeist…

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Determining The Lifetime Of A Safety Vest

One of the most important tools for a construction worker is his high-visibility safety vest. No matter what sort of conditions he may be working in – whether its alongside a busy highway, working after sundown, or working in the rain (for which there is rain suits as well), it’s vitally important that is able to be seen by people both on the construction site and those driving by. These safety vests must meet special requirements by the FHWA, that is, they must be ANSI Class 2 or Class 3 safety garments. These vests are required by all of those who are working near a highway or working near construction machinery, not just the workers themselves. This includes surveyors, engineers, foremen, and more.

Damage Over Time

It’s not surprising that safety clothing experience a lot of wear and tear, thanks to the nature of construction and frequent usage of these vests. While a single accident can ruin a safety vests, they are more usually characterized by long-term wear and tear. If they become to worn, these safety vests must be replaced for the worker’s safety. One rule states that they must be visible from 1000 feet. If they get soiled, defaced, torn, or damaged and can’t be seen from that far, that’s when they need to get replaced.

Color And Reflectivity

There are a few key things one should look for in deciding whether or not a vest needs to be replaced. Of course vests are bound to get dirty and a little worn (it’s construction after all), but they still need to have high levels of contrast, bright colors, and high reflectivity. They also need to be visible from 1000 feet away. When vests aren’t visible from this distance, the reflectivity is low, and the colors are faded and not distinctive, they’ve reached the point where replacement is necessary. This rule is important for other gear as well, such as reflective cones and safety rain gear.


It’s actually not hard at all to replaced a damaged vest, and there are only a few steps. The first is to notify a supervisor. This supervisor is in charge of making sure you get the correct vest in place of the old one, so he or she will need a little information first. This information includes what job the vest was for, since they can vary by job or occupation, the local laws surrounding safety vests, and whether the vest was Class 2 or Class 3.

There are just a few more things to do after the vest itself has been replaced. It’s important that the old safety vests get cut up and then thrown out so no one can accidentally pick them up, thinking they are still okay to use.

Average Lifetime

While there are certainly a handful of factors that influence how long a vest’s lifespan is, the usual time is around six months. Other conditions, like working at higher elevations on in hot areas can lead to faster wear. Another important condition is the actual type of work that is being done. How often vests are cleaned and how they are stored makes a big difference as well.

Edit and schedule saved reports in the new interface

We’re happy to let you know about a recent improvement to the new AdSense interface, developed based on your requests for additional efficiency when managing your account — you can now edit and schedule saved reports. This feature allows you to set up custom reports that will be automatically emailed to you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

When viewing a report in your account, you can select the ‘Save report’ button above the graph and select your preferences…

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Stop Blogging – Start Thinking…

href=""> class="alignright size-medium wp-image-4967" title="modern businessman flying necktie business blogging" src="" alt="" width="300" height="199" />Chances are if you’ve attended any seminars in the last few years on leveraging new technology, social media, and the mighty power of the Internet, you’ve been told that you and href="" target="_blank">your business must blog. Chances are, you’ve also been told just how easy it is to start a blog and that a monkey can do it.

Throw up a page of some kind on any of the popular hosted blog platforms ( href="" target="_blank">WordPress, Tumbler, Posterous et. al.), or hire a broke youngster via some crowd-sourcing firm who’ll gladly hook you up with a self-hosted blog for a price of a cup of coffee a day, if only because where he happens to dwell, your money still has a ton of value.

Once you have secured your blogging space, you can now truly broadcast your message to millions of potential customers with a click of a button, so long as you syndicate, and almost anyone looking for whatever it is you are selling will undoubtedly see your blog come up in the first ten results of Google. If not, there are always adwords, or SEOs, either of which will get you some place reasonable on Google for a price of twice-weekly sushi dinner for two at a nice joint, or thereabouts, per month.

Here is what advice they don’t give you at those seminars or e-books on href="" target="_blank">the magical power of business blogging and social media: id="more-4965">They don’t tell you that blogging = content creation, i.e. writing (mostly), and for some photography, videography, illustration, etc.

That blogging per se is a meaningless word, thrown out there to make it less intimidating for the non-writers amongst us to throw our thoughts into the great wide world of the Internet. That the only differences between writing a blog or writing an article for a newspaper are that with a blog, you will be less likely to suffer public humiliation should it be lousy, and a small but important fact that there is no editor to guide you, help you fix it, or simply say that your content is not worthy of publication.

Here is why it’s important:

Few people in the world are born great writers, or photographers or anything else that requires a natural gift and the tenacity to hone it overtime. Numbers-wise, probably just as few as have a natural gift for music, painting, or architecture. Fewer, still, have the passion to pursue whatever gifts they are born with. The bloggers who have made their business successful by blogging had not just the gift, but the passion and tenacity to pursue it. You can’t learn how to blog effectively in a 20 minute webinar any more than you can learn to paint by taking those paint by numbers classes. And even more importantly, I am of the opinion that we won’t get good at something for which we lack a natural predisposition by repetition. Trying something may help you discover if you have a talent and passion for it though, but chances are, you already know what you are good at and what you enjoy. Most of us do, past middle school anyway.

So here is my sincere recommendation to anyone who is contemplating diving into the world of blogging for business. Take a step back and look at your style of communication, before you do anything else. How do you come across in your correspondence? Would you read you? And if yes, would you hire you to do whatever it is you are selling? If you don’t think you are good enough, do the smart thing. There are people who are good writers, photographers and online communicators. Find one of those close to you, if your place is a mom and pop type, or elsewhere if it’s not, and entrust that person with maintaining your blog and your social media presence. After all, if you are going to blog for business, your blogging and your social media efforts should be looked at as marketing. In simple terms, posting a half-baked blog online is akin to sending someone a postcard you manufactured on your 1990s Xerox. Your potential clients who see it won’t complain or comment. They’ll just file you into the irrelevant folder, and few ever manage to earn a comeback from that one.

href=""> class="alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-4969" style="margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Inna-Hardison-Avatar-Photo" src="" alt="" width="75" height="75" />Today’s guest blog post was contributed by Inna Hardison, wife, mother to two kids and two adopted pups, marketer, writer and owner of  href="" target="_blank">HaMedia Group, a kick ass little ad agency.

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Mobile Product Page Design Tips

Continuing in our series on mobile design strategy, today’s post focuses on mobile product pages, including product information, calls to action, navigation and merchandising.

Purpose of product pages

Throughout this series, we approach design considering the conversion goal(s) for the page type with the understanding that the conversion goal for most pages is a click through to the next step in the buying process, not a completed sale…

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What Small Business Can Learn from The Joy Formidable about Social Media Marketing

href=""> class="alignright size-medium wp-image-4994" title="Neal Schaffer Joy Formidable Ritzy Bryan Photo" src="" alt="" width="300" height="224" />

I don’t blog much about music, but I did have an experience some time ago with a then independent alternative rock band from Wales in the United Kingdom called href="" target="_blank">The Joy Formidable.  A good friend of mine had downloaded their CD (more details on that below) and convinced me to go see them live; in other words, I made a buying decision based on a friend’s recommendation and the ability to also “try out” their product, which in this case was listening to their music.

A small, independent band trying to sell their music is very similar to a small business marketing their products and services, vying for the attention of the ears of hundreds of millions of consumers in an extremely competitive space.  The Joy Formidable, while not a household name yet, was able to climb above the competition and href="" target="_blank">sign a record deal with a major label.  After my experience seeing them, it became clear as to what their secret for doing this was – and what small business can learn from this and apply through social media marketing. id="more-3759">1) Give Your Best Content Away for Free

When The Joy Formidable released their first CD, href="" target="_blank">A Balloon Called Moaning, they did something that most businesses would shudder thinking about: href="" target="_blank">They gave it away for free.  Through this act of buzz-creating marketing, and promoting it on social media websites where their music fans lurk such as MySpace, they were able to get their music into eager ears and raise their brand awareness to a brand new level (pun intended).  If your business is not known in a certain market or you want others to recognize you for your expertise, why not consider giving away a significant freebie (read: not a mere discount) in social media circles to help the spread of word-of-mouth to get your company or product on the minds of hundreds of millions of consumers?  Even through the act of title="5 Sound Reasons to Begin Your Small Business Social Media Marketing with a Blog" href="" target="_blank">business blogging a small business can give away a “resource” and get recognition from their potential customers.

2) Listen to the Social Conversations – Because People are Talking

Let’s fast forward to the actual concert that I attended last year.  I tweeted out and asked if anyone on Twitter had heard of the band.  Within a few minutes someone from San Francisco mentioned that they would be seeing them.  Someone else tweeted out href="!/joyformidable" target="_blank">The Joy Formidable’s official Twitter page.  And then I tweeted out to them that I was looking forward to seeing them that night.  Mind you this is an independent band from North Wales on their first American tour playing in a very small venue in Orange County, California.  I was standing with my friend, who didn’t understand Twitter, in the back of the club enjoying a “refreshment” when a man with a foreign accent walked up to me.  ”Are you Neal Schaffer?” he asked.  Now, I thought maybe it was another fan who was attending the same concert.  It turned out to be the band’s manager, who came over to talk to us.  You don’t necessarily need to invest in social media monitoring software if you’re a small business, but you do need to listen, because you will never know if you are being mentioned in social media without doing so.  You’d better believe that href="!/foofighters/statuses/63445242833141760" target="_blank">The Joy Formidable was listening when Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters sent out this tweet:

href=""> class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-4995" title="Dave Growhl Foo Fighters Joy Formidable Whirring Tweet" src="" alt="" width="566" height="330" />Guess who’s going to be href="" target="_blank">the opening band for some of the Foo Fighters shows on their upcoming tour?

3) Share Your Story with Social Media Fans

The band manager could have just come by and say a quick thank you, but instead hung for around 10 minutes chatting it up with us.  Not only did we hear some inside stories such as about what some mysterious Welsh language on their CD jacket meant, we also heard about some exciting news concerning the band before anyone else did (can’t say what it is because I don’t want anyone to get into trouble src='' alt=';-)' class='wp-smiley' />  Is your business sharing your “secret” stories about your company with your potential clients and customers?  This is especially important with those that are active in social media because these people have reach with their message, whether it is to 5 Facebook friends or 10 Twitter followers.  That’s why, when engaging with them, you should truly engage with them.  Share your stories, answer their questions.  Have a conversation.  Don’t think of social media as a nuisance: It’s an opportunity.  Because you never know who they will share your story with offline, or online in a blog post like this.

4) Grow Your Business One Customer at a Time

As you can see, the impact of one tweet, whether it be from a small fan like me or someone like Dave Grohl, can have a tremendous impact on your future success.  But it’s not about trying to amass millions of followers every night: It’s about treating every customer or potential client as someone who just might be influential.   That’s why The Joy Formidable have been quoted as saying that they are only interested in href="" target="_blank">growing the band one show at a time.  Is your small business treating every potential lead, sale, or conversation in the same manner?

5) Thank Your Fans

The photo that begins this blog post is of the singer of The Joy Formidable, Ritzy Bryan, and yours truly, Neal Schaffer.  The band played for about an hour to about 50 people.  They could have bailed town and headed up to their next gig.  They could have split and went out partying.  Instead the band stuck around at the door to thank every single person that came.  They were more than happy to sign copies of their CD that they were selling their, or in my case, have their photos taken together with their fans.  A simple act of thanking your fans can have a lasting effect on your relationship with them.  Is your small business spending enough time thanking your customers or social media followers?

A good test for any small business is how they can maintain their relationship with their customers and fans through social media.   When you come out with a revised product, is it based on customer feedback and market demand or part of a strategic plan that isn’t aligned with the true customer’s voice?  The Joy Formidable will be facing the same challenge when I see them performing for the 2nd time in href="" target="_blank">Orange County next week at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa (will I see you there too?).  Keep watching this blog for an update!

What other advice could you provide small business on how the can better utilize social media for marketing?  Please chime in!

Oh, and if you want to check out the awesomeness of The Joy Formidable, watch this video of their performing Dave Grohl’s favorite song of 2011, Whirring, from href="" target="_blank">their recent appearance on the Conan O’Brien Show - and make sure you watch how they end their performance src='' alt=';-)' class='wp-smiley' />

style="text-align: center;"> width="425" height="344"> name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /> name="movie" value="" /> name="wmode" value="transparent"> src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="425" height="344">

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SearchCap: The Day In Search, September 21, 2011

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

  • Bing “Action Buttons” Lets You Book Flights, Rent Cars & More

    Bing announced a new feature in the search results named “Action Buttons.” Action buttons give you quick links to perform specific actions on specific web sites…

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